Presumably, the hole was drilled by the owner of the site to get to the groundwater, but did not protect it from unauthorized persons.

José Rosello (left) cries in front of volunteers and journalists at the site of his son's search Getty Photo
José Rosello (left) cries in front of volunteers and journalists at the site of his son’s search Getty Photo

Since January 13, the rescue team is looking for two-year-old Julen Rosello. He disappeared during a Sunday walk with his parents in the province of Malaga, falling into a hundred-meter mine. Since then, he has not shown any signs of life, and the search operation is complicated by technical difficulties and the inability of specialists to descend behind the child into the pit.

The whole of Spain is following the story – more than 100 people have joined the operation, including foreign engineers. They try as quickly as possible to get to the alleged location of the boy, but there is no certainty that he is still alive.

Details of the incident

On January 13, two-year-old Hulen, together with his mother, father and his cousin, left his country house near Malaga and went to a Sunday picnic. Having found a suitable place, the parents started cooking. At some point, the mother moved away to make a phone call, and asked her father to look after her son.

“I was distracted to gather some logs for the fire, and he ran somewhere. We saw him fall into the hole, my cousin more clearly because she was closer, ”says the boy’s father, José. Falling down, the child screamed, and after his father heard the cry of his son. Then he stopped too.

Mine, where Hulen collapsed Photo EPA
Mine, where Hulen collapsed Photo EPA

According to rescuers, Hulen is about 80 meters high pit. It is at this altitude that the specialists with the help of cameras recorded a large accumulation of soil, which prevents them from lowering below. Slightly higher, they found a bag of sweets, as well as a strand of hair. DNA analysis confirmed that they belong to the missing boy. There is no evidence that he is still alive.

According to El País, the mine was illegally drilled by the owner of the local site in an attempt to find groundwater. This is a common way to cope with drought and heat in southern Spain.

“There are hundreds of similar [mines] covered with stones, and no one thinks that someone could fall down there,” said amember of the Spanish Civil Guard.

The owner of the site claims that he had sealed the hole following the authorities’ request. The boy’s parents called this information untrue, adding that the hole was only covered with stones. “My son is there – do not let anyone doubt this. I wish it was impossible, but I heard it. I wish I had been buried underground so that he could be upstairs with his mother, ” says José Rosello.

Plan of salvation

The rescuers have no opportunity to go down after the boy to the mine. Its diameter does not exceed 30 centimeters, and it is too risky to dig it out, since the soil that has come down can even fill up the child. Instead, the engineers decided to drill two new mines: vertical and horizontal, in order to get to Hulen around. In parallel with this, workers carefully pumped the soil out of the main hole, hoping to lower the camera below and find out about the condition of the child.

Rescuers on the spot search operation. AP Photo
Rescuers on the spot search operation. AP Photo

The situation is complicated by difficult weather conditions and tight deadlines – usually several months are required for such works. “The main task is to get to the right place as soon as possible in any way presented,” says engineer Juan Lopez Escobar. He called the situation “unprecedented” and admitted that he had never encountered such a situation before.

Together with the Escobar team, more than 100 specialists from various organizations participate in the rescue operation. These include members of the Spanish Civil Guard and employees of the Swedish rescue company. In 2010, she helped save 33 Chilean miners who were under the rubble for 69 days.

Hope for a better outcome

“There is hope that he is alive, but she is withering by the minute,” said Angel Escano, the mayor of Totalana (municipality in Malaga), on January 17. According to the Daily Mail, the chances that the boy is alive after more than 120 hours in the mine are slim. This is only possible if the child is in the “air pocket” and has access to water.

From the very beginning of the rescue operation, dozens of regional and federal media stumbled to the scene. People across the country have expressed support for the family of the missing person, and more than 60 companies from different countries have also offered help in the operation . Many local residents came to the scene with posters with various inscriptions – “Hope”, “Cohesion” or simply “Hulen”, and the children brought drawings.

Getty Photos
Getty Photos

The Rosello family faced a tragedy and earlier – in 2017, their three-year-old son passed away due to heart problems. According to Express, the grandmother of the missing wrote a post on social networks, where she appealed to the deceased brother of the boy with a request to “protect Hulen”. She later wrote a new post: “If God really exists, help him, please. Hang on, Julen. “

The parents of the missing person live in a tent near the site of the rescue operation, awaiting news. Only on the fourth day they were persuaded to return home briefly to take a shower and change clothes.

It seems like we are waiting for months. We do not plan to give up. We believe that the angel will help my son come back alive.

Jose Rosello
father of the missing Julen

On January 18, rescuers reported that they had reached the bottom of the mine in the next 24-48 hours.